The testimony of DRASTIC founder J.J. Couey provides powerful firsthand insight into the perpetuation of the lab leak theory as a controlled opposition narrative.
A bombshell has emerged in the debate on the origins of COVID, with J.J. Couey, one of the original founders of DRASTIC—a grassroots group assembled to investigate SARS-CoV-2’s origins—renouncing the lab leak theory, saying he now believes the lab leak theory represents a kind of controlled opposition or “double bluff” in order to perpetuate the pandemic state of emergency.
To date, DRASTIC members have generally held steadfast to the line that COVID must have arisen due to a lab leak. Perhaps for this reason, DRASTIC’s work has been endorsed by some of the world’s most prestigious media outlets, including the Economist, the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Intercept, Vanity Fair, and Newsweek.
These endorsements lend Mr. Couey considerable high-level authority as to the origins of the virus. For him to renounce the lab leak theory as controlled opposition thus marks a monumental shift in the debate surrounding the origins of COVID.
In his podcast series, Couey tells of how he became convinced that the lab leak theory had to be true in early 2020 because the idea was initially censored, which he now refers to as being “Scooby-Doo’d.”
And this was me, remember I was saying there was a lab leak and what do these guys say, what is the general story that you can serially passage it in animals or serially passage it in some cell culture and that can result in some change that results in a pandemic. This I believe is false. I believe I was one of many people who was misled, there’s my picture as Sherlock Holmes, thinking I’d solved this mystery of where the virus came from. And I think what happened is I was Scooby-Doo’d. They essentially made us believe that by censoring the lab leak it had to be true, because the emails say that Fauci was covering it up, the furin cleavage site says that it must be a lab leak. There’s even evidence of restriction enzyme sites that I did a story on for CHZ before I really realized what I think happened to me and a lot of us is we were tricked into believing something that’s not biologically true…
I started the same way a lot of us did, very early on in February 2020: It’s gotta be a lab virus! It’s gotta be a lab virus otherwise it wouldn’t go around the world, it’s gotta be a lab virus otherwise they wouldn’t cover it up, it’s gotta be a lab virus otherwise why would they fire me? And a lot of people were played like this, maybe entire newscasts, maybe entire networks, maybe entire vaccine committees, maybe entire CDC committees, maybe entire White House staffs.
Couey now believes the illusion of a coronavirus pandemic has been spun almost entirely through the recoding of ordinary all-cause mortality as “COVID deaths” through manipulative death coding and the widespread abuse of faulty PCR tests that would register positive due to the presence of just about any coronavirus; essentially, the entire response to COVID has been one giant fraud.
The WHO declared a pandemic of a novel, dangerous virus…that enabled a larger percentage of all-cause mortality than pneumonia and influenza to be prioritized as a national security threat composed of vaccine-preventable deaths. So you and I and the “no-virus” people all know that the PCR test was used to inflate the number of cases and to extend a wide net so that they could claim that this pandemic was much much larger than it was, no one’s going to argue about that. But the question is how did that work? Did it work because the PCR test was so weak and so aspecific and so vulnerable to false positives if you ran it up to enough cycles—or, is one of the central myths that they’ve told us which is SARS-CoV-2 got out twice but it disappeared again, is completely false. What’s much more likely is that on the background of an untold number of coronaviruses, many of which are related to SARS-1, a PCR test that’s aimed at SARS-2 will have a lot of overlap with background viruses, so anyone that has some coronavirus, a certain percentage of them is likely to have a coronavirus that will register on any one of these EUA tests…
They also changed the way we think about all-cause mortality, and this is a huge bamboozlement because think about it now as you look back, they have led us to believe there was a new cause of death—“a new cause of death!”—and everybody who died of it shouldn’t have died because it was a new cause of death and if Peter Daszak wouldn’t have been tweaking viruses we wouldn’t have this problem. They convinced people around the world that the PCR tests were evidence of this, and at the same time they never talked about all-cause mortality.
Couey believes the perceived increase in pneumonia deaths can be explained almost entirely by iatrogenesis and the poor medical protocols that were rolled out by the World Health Organization and other public health and national security authorities with the onset of COVID.
If you think about how they rolled out the tests and the fact that they admitted that anybody who tested positive within 28 days of a death was considered a COVID death, it’s very easy to explain why, by telling everybody there’s no treatment for the pneumonia you see, that antibiotics won’t work for the pneumonia you see, that mechanical ventilation might stop the spread for the virus that you don’t see—that all of these changes that were introduced into our healthcare system, all the huge shifts that occurred in the way that we treated people, the way we treated other diseases, and the way that we reacted to a respiratory virus should this test come up positive, is easily responsible for creating these bumps in pneumonia deaths… What I’m suggesting is, it seems to me from a wide variety of data sets, that the change in protocol, the lack of protocols, the ridiculous suggestive protocols, the horrible pharmaceutical protocols that were enacted, could easily explain why we went from a very steady number of pneumonia-based deaths to a doubling or tripling of pneumonia-based deaths. Couple that with using tests to rope in everyone who ever went to a hospital and now you see how this theatre was created…
Couey agrees that the entire idea of a lab leak due to gain-of-function research represented a kind of “double bluff,” or an exercise in reverse psychology. As one physician summarized on Couey’s podcast:
In my opinion, there never was a pandemic, nothing went around the world, and that’s the end of it really. I’ve been thinking to myself that the gain-of-function thing was a “double bluff” if you’d like, with the purpose that you’ve described, and you brilliantly described why they might have done all these things. But I agree with you: there wasn’t a pandemic in the world, it didn’t go around the world, it never had the capacity to go around the world.
Couey: Yeah, I think that’s the summary.
Another physician agreed that the idea of a lab leak was part of a narrative in which “public health” was being used to introduce communist values across society.
We’re being sucked into this idea of “what’s good for the public.” That’s socialism, that’s communism, that’s dictatorship. “All of you sacrifice your lives for the good of _!”
Couey goes into considerable detail about the biological evidence that led him to believe in the impossibility that a coronavirus lab leak could have led to a pandemic, due to the constant and inherent instability of individual coronavirus genomes—including those that have supposedly constituted the “COVID pandemic.” No coronavirus genome or viral clone has ever defied this law of nature. This makes the lab leak theory every bit as nonsensical as the theory that the virus suddenly popped out of some animal at the Wuhan wet market, especially in light of the now-overwhelming evidence that COVID was already spreading globally many months before the initial events in Wuhan.
They’ve made us believe that mother nature can make a combination of genes or Peter Daszak and EcoHealth Alliance and Zhengli Shi can make a combination of viral genes that will endow the virus with properties that only can be created when the virus is purified like that and made in enough quantity to do anything at all with it. My guess is if there was a virus, it was a viral clone, and that’s why they could actually think that for a short period of time a PCR test would mean anything at all… and at that stage, you’re once again screening the background and any coronavirus with a homologous protein of those two would likely pull up a PCR positive and there you go, they’ve converted almost all respiratory disease to a national security priority that’s vaccine targetable and nobody can argue with them because it was declared in an emergency.
The tricky part about this is, of course, that that means there was really no danger except for what they did to us. Because this isn’t real. Yes, there was a cave in 2012 where they found that three people or four people got a very similar disease to SARS-CoV-2 but it didn’t spread. It didn’t wipe out a hospital, or a town, or a city. It ended with four or five people and some sampling… You don’t get a citywide outbreak because of the variability and the constant instability of a genome of an RNA virus… And I think they’re full of bull. I think the reason why they’re telling us this is because they want us to surrender our individual sovereignty and invert our rights to fascism, and then we got Scooby-Doo’d. Because they’re trying to make us believe that “yeah you can also stitch pieces together and make chimeric viruses and then those viruses will go around the world like wildfire,” and that’s just not biologically plausible.
So this is what I think happened, they Scooby-Doo’d us and they tricked us into slowly but surely, even the TV watchers think it’s probably a lab leak, I mean obviously it’s a lab leak, and isn’t that just perfect then. Because now the WHO is needed forever and the threat of people buying equipment on eBay and building gain-of-function viruses in their garage is real. And the possibility that China’s doing it and America’s doing it and oh my gosh imagine the fear that they could create… and forever after it would be codified in every story that mother nature is capable of doing something that she’s not, and they know she’s not, but they’ve told you a story that most of the time if you take a PCR test you never would have gotten a positive before 2020, but that’s a lie! And it’s basically based on that lie alone, and I think most of us know that in our hearts, that without that PCR test this never would have gone anywhere, without an ability to round everybody up with a PCR test to try to shift more of the all-cause mortality rate under the umbrella of a “novel virus.”
Couey believes the actual capabilities of gain-of-function research have been exaggerated at all levels in order to perpetuate the narrative that a pandemic could have resulted from a lab leak.
Gain-of-function is exaggerated on purpose at all levels because natural zoonosis is a ghost… The chimeric paper that they combine a SARS virus with a new bat spike protein and it kills more cells than the other clone did is also just a story. It’s a story about two synthetic viruses in a dish that make more plaques than the other one, and then we think “Wow they’re making gain-of-function viruses, this is crazy, imagine what they’re not telling us!” Scooby-Doo’d. We’ve been fooled.
All these things that we thought about it, all these things they describe about it, they are describing, interestingly enough, only attributes of a clone. Everybody that looked at the sequence was looking at only one sequence: The original one. “Ooh it’s enriched to ACE2! It’s got a furin cleavage site!” And then we went on and on about AIDS inserts and all this other stuff. Why don’t we track the AIDS inserts now then? Why don’t we talk about whether the furin cleavage site is still present? Why don’t we talk about the proteogenic aspects of the spike and then track those sequences? Why do we keep talking about the original spike when we know that there’s no conceivable way that if this virus was released in Wuhan, then the virus could both circle the Earth and also maintain a fidelity that didn’t slowly but surely erode the toxicity of whatever the spike protein was originally. You can’t have it both ways, but I believe, because of the Scooby-Dooing that’s occurred to us, we’re actually allowing that to happen.
Couey thinks the lab leak narrative is being used by powerful government and financial interests with ulterior motives. For example, the lab leak theory has recently been endorsed by WHO Director Tedros Adhanom and Jeffrey Sachs, both of whom have long histories of servicing the Chinese Communist Party. As Couey says:
Most of all, we can’t assume that there’s only one virus—one source of respiratory disease is absurd. Before 2020, this would’ve been considered absurd. So this is Jeffrey Sachs not too long ago on CNN doing the exact Scooby-Doo thing. And now you can see why it’s Scooby-Doo, because it is, they are trying to lead the public in the direction of “we solved it!”…So it’s really, Jeffrey Sachs is one of these guys who’s playing the same Scooby-Doo game, where as they stumble forward they want you to come to the conclusion that it is possible that a coronavirus can explain the last two-and-a-half years, and it cannot.
This game has been going on for some time. The lab leak theory was launched in no small part by former Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger, arguably the single official most responsible for bringing lockdowns to the United States. In early 2020, many of the scary videos purporting to show mass death in Wuhan—which were all later proven fake—specifically invoked the possibility of a lab leak as a reason to be terrified of the virus. Other high level members of the US national security community, including the former Director of National Intelligence and the former Secretary of State, have staked their reputations on the idea that the virus came from the Wuhan lab.
As a founder of DRASTIC, Couey has unique insight into the dynamics of how the lab leak narrative has been used as controlled opposition. Couey tells of how the mainstream media narrative surrounding DRASTIC was effectively hijacked by the US National Security Council—likely because the NSC wanted the appearance of a grassroots group to popularize a theory which they really wanted everyone to believe to begin with, evidence be damned.
This is a video from I think it’s April of 2021 or February of 2021. And Newsweek and Vanity Fair also covered this same group called DRASTIC. And you can hear in that video, Tucker Carlson will list out the people that started the group, and only one American is listed, and that is Jamie Metzl, who was a National Security Council member in the Clinton administration. And they take the narrative and say that these people are responsible for making it plausible to consider that it was a lab leak. And in reality, of the five people that originally started DRASTIC, I was one of them. And none of those articles covered any of the people that were in DRASTIC originally. None of them. So we knew already then that something was going on, but I didn’t understand what. And what I realized now is that I’ve essentially been fooled just like everyone else. I’m a human being, and I got played. I got Scooby-Doo’d.
Tucker Carlson was one of the most influential individuals who talked Donald Trump into signing onto lockdowns in early 2020.
We got covered in Vanity Fair and Newsweek and it was quite an interesting time, because some people in DRASTIC were very happy to get covered but other people were noticeably upset that they completely credited the entire organization to one guy with everything but CIA cufflinks, essentially stealing the story from us and yet fueling this Scooby-Doo episode of us figuring out that “Oh it’s DRASTIC, and DRASTIC figured out that it was a lab leak! Thank goodness for these guys!”
As Couey describes, the initial “Scooby-Dooing” of the lab leak theory led to a perception that a lab leak was being covered up by national security officials in the United States and China, which made the theory popular. But this is essentially the opposite of what’s actually happened. Rather, the national security community has been doing just about everything in their power to convince the public that the COVID pandemic was the result of a lab leak, primarily out of a desperate effort to justify the initial lockdowns in which they played an outsized role, similar to their desperate attempts to identify weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in the years following the invasion of Iraq. Hence the steady drumbeat of well-funded document dumps and FOIA requests hyperfocusing on Fauci and other scientists’ discussions of a possible lab leak in early 2020.
For its part, the Chinese government pretends to be covering up a lab leak by publishing full-throated denials of a lab leak on an almost daily basis. This is not consistent with a real coverup. For example, mainstream media outlets across the western world have covered up the harms of lockdowns, not by constantly denying such harms occurred, but instead by simply pretending the subject does not exist. Likewise, in order to cover up the Tiananmen Square Massacre, CCP cadres at all levels are trained to pretend they have no clue that anything of significance ever took place at Tiananmen Square—it’s just a square. The CCP’s constant denials of a lab leak can thus only be seen as an exercise in reverse psychology, a way to convince the world that the virus was lab-made, without saying so outright, in order to justify all the totalitarian lockdowns and mandates from China to which they’ve been subject.
Couey warns that the lab leak narrative is being perpetuated by those he believed were the “good guys”—all according to a planned narrative to justify the biosecurity state in perpetuity.
When somebody says “I want to get to the bottom of this,” that’s a very easy thing to say—everybody wants to understand what happened here—but I assure you there are some people who don’t want YOU to understand what’s happened here, and they want you to come to one specific conclusion. And that’s why I say we’ve been Scooby-Doo’d, because we’ve been tricked into believing that we’ve solved the mystery, that we’ve found out who the bad guy is, but we haven’t even gotten close…
I feel there is a concerted effort both in the mainstream media, and in social media, and among the people that you call “dissidents” to change your mind for a reason… I believe that by convincing you that there was a gain-of-function virus, and that gain-of-function viruses are possible, and that serial passage can lead to a pandemic, is a narrative which allows the biosecurity state to exist in infinity and the global public health security state to be fundable, to be justifiable, and to be supernational, dissolving national sovereignty for all intents and purposes.
So all these people are part of a machine that wants to convince you that there is a national and indeed global security health threat from gain-of-function viruses that will never go away… The sustaining of that narrative is being done by people that I thought were good guys.
The matrix is real. It’s a set of stories that has actually trapped both sides. The side that loves the vaccines and believe the PBS NewsHour and think either MSNBC or Fox News is more right than the other, but they all agree that “Oh it’s probably a lab leak! So we should probably do something about those lab leaks!” It’s all gone exactly as planned, and I was part of creating that narrative… It’s a very incredible play that they’ve done to us, and I believe the play is still being executed on all sides that we can see.
Controlled opposition is a difficult topic, not only because it’s messy, but also because it’s not black-and-white. An individual might disingenuously toe one line in order to maintain access to unique financial and media opportunities, even while genuinely believing in other aspects of the cause. By contrast, fully-transparent activists are often too honest for our own good, making it difficult for our work to get much publicity.
Nonetheless, Couey tells of the tremendous social pressure and the financial temptation to which those like him have been subject in order to perpetuate the lab leak narrative. In one instance, after he renounced the lab leak theory, his former DRASTIC colleague Charles Rixey seemed to rub in the fact that Robert Malone snubbed Couey, inviting Rixey to his ranch instead of him.
As they purport to inform you, they are actually telling you what now turn out to be boldfaced lies, lies about the capabilities of mother nature and lies about the capabilities of gain-of-function research. This all started with this podcast I was on which really doesn’t say anything controversial. Nine days later I saw Robert Malone and he couldn’t “remember” me. Had no idea even after I tried to tell him we did this podcast together. But at the same meeting he remembered Charles Rixey and in fact invited Charles Rixey over to his house to discuss the Diffuse proposal. And in fact, he even said that in front of me. And Charles Rixey went out of his way to tell me no less than three times in person: “Isn’t it weird that Robert Malone remembered me and not you? Can’t believe I’m going to go to his ranch.”
This financial pressure is not surprising, as billions of dollars have been spent to keep the lab leak narrative alive. A recent report on the lab leak theory from Vanity Fair and ProPublica, for example, was financed in part by $5 million in funding from serial financial criminal Sam Bankman-Fried and his fraudulent cryptocurrency empire at FTX. It’s not clear why it took $5 million of stolen money to fund a half-baked article with little new information, but this is telling as to the quantity and ethics of the funding that’s gone toward keeping the lab leak theory at the forefront of the public conversation.
Couey emotionally describes the alienation and ostracism he’s experienced since he renounced the lab leak theory from those he thought were his friends. He believes many of his former colleagues are simply telling people what they want to hear, regardless of the evidence.
If people who are your friends, and who came to you as part of a united front of people who were interested in saving humanity from whatever this is, and then they suddenly change their mind about you, they suddenly walk away, they don’t bother calling anymore—oh, ok… This has happened quite often in the last two weeks or so, where people behave as though the reality on the board is not happening.
These are not people behaving like serious adults. Either they’re playing at a game, or they’re being told what to do, or they’re not thinking very straight. Because while they insist on this constantly brittle narrative, they also insist on insulting me, they also insist on coming down hard on me, accusing me of saying things, doing things. <Couey chokes up. Long pause.>
I’m a human just like you are. But I have a family, and I’ve put a lot on the line night after night. And I put myself on the line the last couple days because I think there are people who are not behaving honestly, people who are telling stories on the screen while acting differently behind the scenes… These people are not really following whatever the science is. They’re following preconceived notions and they haven’t really deviated from these preconceived notions for over a year and a half. No extra data matter, no extra observations matter, no retrospective view matters, nothing. The same brittle narrative for almost two years now… They can tell all the stories they want, they can stream all they want, nobody’s watching anymore, and the reason nobody’s watching is because they can see through this consistently brittle narrative that they keep repeating over and over. It’s sad, really.
Telling people what they want to hear is, unfortunately, nothing new with regard to the lab leak theory. For example, the United States Senate recently released a report concluding that the COVID pandemic was “most likely” the result of a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Yet these same senators exerted precisely zero effort to hold China accountable for that lab leak, or even to stop Peter Daszak from obtaining more funding for this same gain-of-function research. If these Senators actually believed what they were saying, one would certainly expect that—if only for the safety of themselves and their own family members—they’d want to put a stop to this research which supposedly resulted in a pandemic claiming millions of lives.
This leads to a dynamic in which many insist there must have been a lab leak simply because they see other successful people insisting there must have been a lab leak. At the highest level, however, this Party line serves the interests of the COVID narrative and its chief instigators in multiple ways. As I outlined in Snake Oil:
By using controlled opposition figures to sponsor the COVID-19 lab leak and bioweapon theories, the CCP advanced each of these goals. First, CCP opponents were wrongfully convinced that SARS-CoV-2 was exceptionally dangerous—its origins worth investigating. Second, CCP opponents were lulled into complacency, following leaders who promised to find the virus’ origin, but who had no real intention of holding the CCP accountable. Finally, opponents of the CCP could be misdirected to pour their energies into a wild goose chase to find SARS-CoV2’s origin, while opposition to lockdowns was silenced…
That politicians and media outlets were, by 2021, talking about a lab leak while ignoring the thousands of citizens slaughtered by China’s bad guidance on mechanical ventilators was a demonstration of controlled opposition at work. Regardless of one’s views on lockdowns, everyone should have been outraged by the bad ventilator guidance that killed thousands of innocent patients. Leaders’ silence on this subject spoke volumes as to their credibility on holding Beijing accountable for anything, especially complex virological theories.
For the political right, the lab leak theory was a bit like “follow the science” was to the political left. Many of those loyal to the political right saw leaders endorsing the lab leak theory and fell in line. Just as the Soviets had learned through their domination of Eastern Europe, democracy could be subverted more easily by corrupting officials on both the left and the right. Corrupt one side and you can mislead 40 or 50% of the population; corrupt both sides and you can mislead 80 or 90% of the population…
Snake Oil sets out why the lab leak theory always had to be a controlled opposition narrative from a logical perspective. Yet previously it was a lonely position among major COVID commentators to assert that the lab leak theory represented a “double bluff” and an exercise in reverse psychology. The endorsement of the double bluff argument by a founder of DRASTIC thus marks a sea change in the debate on COVID’s origins.
For those who’ve long seen through the COVID fraud, what Couey says may not be particularly new. Yet apart from his scientific background and his status as a founder of DRASTIC—a group that’s been endorsed by many of the world’s most elite media outlets—what gives Couey’s testimony such power is that he’s experienced firsthand the powerful social and financial forces that have kept the lab leak theory alive as controlled opposition, regardless of the evidence.
Couey’s testimony effectively settles the debate. We can all sleep easy knowing that the lab leak narrative is false, and in fact was never anything more than a part of a broad totalitarian psychological operation to usurp our national sovereignty. Scooby-Doo’d indeed.
Michael P Senger is an attorney and author of Snake Oil: How Xi Jinping Shut Down the World. Want to support my work? Get the book.